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Counterintuitive polling data suggests unpredictable race

If Louisianans wondering what is up with this year’s state races across the country and at home have learned, it’s that it’s hard to predict what’s going to transpire in the state’s gubernatorial contest.

Earlier this week, voters delivered verdicts in elections in Kentucky and Virginia that defied expectations and polling, bringing a Republican ticket home in the Bluegrass State and keeping the statehouse in GOP hands in the Old Dominion. The seeming surprise of it all matches that observed at present in the Bayou State.

In the last couple of days, governor’s contest polls with varying partisan backers and records of accuracy (one historically overestimating Democrat strength, another this year having continually showed different results from others that were more consistent with the actual outcome) all gave Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards a lead over Republican Sen. David Vitter, even enough margin for an outright win regardless of which way the undecided portions would swing. Such results are entirely counterintuitive from the general election results, where Republican candidates lead the Democrats running by 15 percent.


Will Angelle, Dardenne sulk or show statesmanship?

Will a Republican firing squad help Louisiana’s Democrats in 2015 party like it’s 1979 in reverse?

In last year’s win by Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy over Democratic former Sen. Mary Landrieu, which could have happened about a month earlier had military retiree Rob Maness not run in a race that he should have realized he never had a chance to win as he differed little from Cassidy on the issues, Maness did eventually, perhaps grudgingly, give Cassidy an endorsement. Maness being in the contest made Cassidy unable to win the general election outright, and six days after it Maness put his money where his mouth had been to back up his saying during the campaign that he would prefer Cassidy over Landrieu.

It’s now been well over a week since Republican Sen. David Vitter made it into a runoff with Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards, yet the two Republicans vanquished as a result, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, have yet to utter a peep about whom they would prefer. During the campaign, Angelle deferred in releasing such information, but Dardenne implied that he would not endorse Vitter in such a circumstance.


Turnout, not endorsements, key to Landry hopes

A key endorsement picked up by attorney general candidate former Rep. Jeff Landry will help, but does not establish him as the favorite in the runoff election with fellow Republican incumbent Buddy Caldwell.

Caldwell, whose chumminess with trial lawyers, related to his habit of reeling out contingency contracts for state business, and his poor choices in what cases to pursue and how made conservatives suspicious enough of the former Democrat to have the state GOP endorse Landry. The general election saw Caldwell pull only 35 percent of the vote, narrowly leading Landry’s 33 percent.

In third place came Gerri Broussard-Baloney, the officially-endorsed Democrat who drew 18 percent. Recently, she surprisingly endorsed Landry despite her long-time affiliation with the left wing of state Democrats, citing his reform agenda for the office.


"Ban the box" produces no benefits, only costs

If one newly-elected member of the Louisiana Legislature has her way, Baton Rouge and perhaps all of Louisiana would emulate bad policy followed by New Orleans.

Current East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Councilor Denise Marcelle, fresh off an election win that will send her to the state House of Representatives next year, as a swan song has proposed that the consolidated government adopt a “ban the box” ordinance for its hiring. This means that its employment applications no longer would contain a request for a prospective employee to indicate whether he had committed felonies and to provide information about those.

In 2014, the Legislature sidelined numerous bills to try to impose this for differing kinds of hiring in the state. New Orleans, which leads local governments in Louisiana in all things stupid, adopted this for its city hiring a couple of years ago. State regulations strongly suggest but do not outright prohibit state agency hiring of felons, but does not address those with misdemeanor-only records.